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Millennials, Gen-Y, The Net Generation, however we refer to them, they are the children born between 1980 and late 1990’s/early 2000’s to the baby boomers, but their experiences are remarkably different from those of their parents or grandparents.

Millennials have become known for their sense of entitlement, which can be frustrating for those who work with them and for the millennials themselves to be branded in such a way.  Millennials believe they can have everything they want immediately, which is down to their parents, teachers and those who have influenced them in their early years as well as throughout their educational years.  Millennials are more confident than the previous generation of baby boomers. They also have a constant need for development and want things done immediately.

Millennials believe it is possible to achieve great things in a short period of time.  Their work ethic is strong and we now have a generation that have invested heavily to get through university and start their working lives in debt.  Millennials will represent 85% of the workforce by 2025.

The big questions: How do companies attract millennial talent?  How do businesses retain millennials in todays’ competitive job market?

Make them an offer they can’t refuse – Millennials' Top Career Concerns

  • Financial security
  • Job Stability
  • Career Satisfaction – interesting work
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Flexibility in working hours and location
  • Work life balance
  • Purpose and culture
  • Social events
  • Benefits and perks

Show them how they can grow and fulfil their potential within the organisation

  • In-house training programs
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Paid time off to attend professional development events
  • Provide success stories of other employees.
  • Good perks and benefits
  • Help them to dream and show them the good life, show how brand of company can make their lives better
  • Inspire them and help them to find happiness in what they do every day at work

Develop Mentoring/e-Mentoring programs

  • Challenge millennials, stretch their skills and allow them to develop multiple competencies
  • Team leadership
  • Customer Service
  • Specific job-related abilities
  • Fuel creativity – marketing is about conversations, images which can help finish a sentence
  • Make is easier for millennials to share content with creative ideas tailored to fit the company brand attributes

Establish a prominent business presence on social media

A new global study by SDL, found that if a company wants to reach millennials, they have to be on social media.  Social media ranks alongside search engines. If you want to build relationships with millennials and gain their trust, do so on social media.

  • Build social media websites providing more information about working for the company via video/podcast or more traditional channels
  • Millennials are attracted to corporate images and brand names
  • Provide access to instant communication and rewards.
  • Provide job boards on Facebook, LinkedIn, Jobster, Myspace, Talent Rocket.
  • Hashtag ways to success – millennials love them.
  • Blogs

Provide a hashtag for your company blog, this gives a sense of community and purpose, which matters most to millennials. Provide information in bite sized chunks as 41% of millennials have no patience for content which is too long.  Use visual aids as a report by the New York Times found that 34% of millennials watch online videos and 50% watch at least once a day.

Millennials grew up with a high level of stimulation through TV’s, video games, internet and a myriad of extra-curricular activities and will become disengaged very quickly if not challenged.  They are adept users of social media and very tech savvy, so it is important to have a strong social media presence.

Millennials are also very emotional, so when posting blogs using social media to attract them, the content needs to be positive, negative, or surprising; think about amusement, happiness, excitement, anticipation, and reveal, create content which strikes a chord with millennials.

Millennials also have a deep respect for companies where they know staff are treated well economically and interpersonally.  Millennials like most people want to work in an inclusive environment where they feel respected, valued and treated fairly.  They want their opinions to count and they want their contributions recognised and rewarded both financially and psychologically.

  • Companies who are upfront and honest about their values – they need to know where growth will be
  • Expect constant communication regarding their career path and development
  • Expect to know they have a place within the company
  • Needs openness in the work place
  • Access to workplace information in the same way they are able to instant message or Google anything that they want to say or know
  • Provide direct, ongoing supervision and guidance from bosses
  • Provide constant feedback
  • State of the art technology

If companies are aware of these needs and are able to provide them, millennials will have no issue staying on in the company longer than their dues.

In return, what can millennials offer those companies they work for?

  • Know they are making a contribution to their employers
  • Adept users of social media both new and traditional e.g. blogging and online social networking, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter
  • Share their knowledge and opinions with each other and their employers
  • Good work ethics and enthusiasm for their new role

Money Talks

At the same time Millennials like a company where money talks. They have to pay back their university debts!  Money continues to be the biggest negotiation tools used by both a company and the employee when filling a position.  The brightest talent from today’s millennial graduates is walking into a business world which is much different to that of their parents or grandparents.  Competition is fierce not only for the employees but for the companies trying to woo these millennials.  Businesses would be wise to help employees reach their full potential. This way they will not be so quick to look at other jobs or move on after two years.


They also need a sense of purpose in their work, not just paper shuffling or revenue building.  It is important for companies to show that their company and culture is an asset to the world rather than just a means to an end. It is important for the company that it has a wider vision and to share this vision with its clients also.  A study carried out by Deloitte with over a 1000 millennials found that most want a career that matters.  Also 95% say the company reputation is important.  Another 100% wanted the company to stand for something e.g. give back to the community, protect the environment, charity events and so forth.


When hiring new employees, it is important that training and development opportunities are a big asset and not just the salary.  Millennials come to positions with years of educational experience in their corners and will look for opportunities on a holistic basis, not just as a means to a pay-check.

Companies offering development and training programs will entice employees to the company.  If companies show they are willing to invest in the millennials future, the millennials are more likely to invest in the companies’ future business and want the company to succeed.

Millennials want to know if the company is a winning organisation;  is it a company they can be proud to say they work for? Does it have leaders with a blend of competence, integrity, and vision?

They will want to know if they can maximise their performance on the job.  All employees want to do a good job which means most want to work in an environment that will make the most of their skills and which provides the resources, information, authority and training necessary to perform at their best.


Diversity exists in many forms. People come from different places and have many different points of view.  Inter-generational differences are no different.  When people are born in different times, they are influenced by different world events. Just like culture difference, a little understanding goes a long way.  Understand millennials and companies will retain them for years. It is important to train people in inter-generational diversity.  If a company forgets to take the time to understand what makes the millennial tick, the company will lose them and they will be gone in the blink of an eye.

Millennials want to give their best, otherwise they can get bored very quickly.  So, if the points mentioned above are followed by future companies when trying to attract millennials into their world of work, millennials will not hesitate to join the team and work towards the success of the company’s future.  Enjoyment and belonging are also two things that are key to the long-term retention of millennials.

Contact us today to find out how SmartPA can take your business to the next level.

SmartPA Partner Olive Sabir

Olive is a committed support specialist dedicated to delivering SmartPA's world-class services to businesses. She has worked for more than 20 years in office management for SME's and multinational firms in London, Dublin and Islamabad in sectors including education, medical, legal, and financial services.